Two Days in the Valley - * *

2 Days in the Valley is a jumbled hodgepodge with an excess of plot masquerading as hip thriller. The movie starts with two hitmen, friendly Dosmo (Danny Aiello) and sociopathic Lee (James Spader) getting ready to kill the ex-husband of an Olympic skiier, Becky (Teri Hatcher). Yet, Lee seems to have a hidden agenda, and plots to get rid of Dosmo as well. Meanwhile, two vice cops, earnest Wes (Eric Stoltz) and brooding Alvin (Jeff Daniels) are getting ready to bust a “massage” parlor that opened in the valley. However, Wes has a change of heart, and instead, the pair are drawn into the murder investigation. Cut to Dosmo, on the run from Lee, he stumbles into an obnoxious art dealer’s backyard, and takes him (Greg Cruttwell) and his secretary (Glenne Headly) hostage. Meanwhile, the art dealer’s sister, Audrey (Marsha Mason) meets a suicidal director (Paul Mazursky), and together they go to visit her brother… And, of course, there’s a lot more plot. So much more that several interesting plot threads dangle, or are left uncovered. Writer/director John Herzfeld does manage to get us interested in these various characters, but he has bitten off a bit more than he can chew. The ending is a bit hurried, as he struggles to tie the plethora of plots into a cohesive whole, but several slip out of the mix. The acting throughout is passable, with most of the actors wishing they had more to do. The standouts are James Spader, who does admittedly have the showiest role, and Paul Mazursky as the depressed director. Herzfeld is apparently aiming for a pop culture phenomenon, but he should have kept this one on the drawing board for just a bit longer.

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